Books: When the Capsule Broke

THE FATAL IMPACT by Alan Moorehead. 230 pages. Harper & Row. $5.95.

Out of the history of man's ventures and adventures into the lives of the peoples of the Pacific Ocean, Alan Moorehead (The White Nile, The Blue Nile, Cooper's Creek) has constructed a coherent parable that is an irony in time a version of the fall of man—a chronicle of inevitable disasters. The "impact" of which he writes in this unobtrusively expert narrative is the effect of the European Enlightenment upon the primitive, "the fateful moment when a social capsule is broken open, when...

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